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Curriculum Vitae or Resume: What are the Differences?

By Higher Education Recruitment Consortium
February 7, 2017
An icon of a CV or resume

If you are applying for a job with a college or university, you might be hearing a lot about the curriculum vitae (CV). Most faculty positions at these institutions require a CV. If you are applying for staff positions, you will likely be asked to submit a resume. However, some staff positions also require a CV. If a staff position is in your future, create a full CV (a compendium of all your experiences and accomplishments) to use as your "master resume." Then, when applying for specific jobs, you will have everything you need in one document. Previous articles offer tips for writing your resume, while other articles focus on the CV. The major differences, however, are in academic orientation and page length.


Academic Orientation and Page Length

If you plan to work in in a faculty position in higher education, you will need a CV. Curriculum vitae is Latin for "course of life," and that is an apt description of what is included. A CV emphasizes educational and academic accomplishments and grows over the course of an academic's life. There is no real page limit, although it is expected that a junior faculty member will have a shorter CV than a well-published professor emeritus. In some fields, it is not uncommon to see a CV upwards of 20 pages long. 

Very few other occupations use CVs even within higher education. For example, most staff positions in higher education and many community colleges use a resume, which is shorter than a CV yet long enough to show a community college instructor's teaching experience. A resume will usually not contain an exhaustive list of a person’s working life. Resume is French for summary, and it is just that—a summary of qualifications and skills geared toward a specific occupation. Even with years of experience, your resume should be no longer than two pages.   


Which One Should I Submit?

Of course, there are many similarities between a CV and a resume. Both provide a review of qualifications and both summarize education. Both also should be created with attention to detail, as they serve as the calling card you will need to achieve the career of your dreams.

Most job descriptions will specifically ask for either a resume or a CV. If you are applying for a position at a large research university and the posting does not specify which to send, it is perfectly acceptable to ask. If you are applying at any other type of institution within the U.S., it is likely that you will be sending a resume, but again, ask if you are unsure.


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